SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Critical speed (CS) constitutes an important metabolic and performance demarcator. However, active skeletal muscle blood flow distribution specifically surrounding CS remains unknown. We tested the hypotheses that CS could be accurately determined in the running rat and that measurement of hindlimb inter- and intramuscular blood flow below and above CS would support that the greatest muscle fibre recruitment above, relative to below, CS occurs in the predominantly glycolytic muscles. Seven male Sprague–Dawley rats performed five constant-speed tests to exhaustion at speeds between 95 and 115% of the speed that elicited inline image to determine CS. Subsequent constant-speed tests were performed at speeds incrementally surrounding CS to determine time to exhaustion, inline image, and hindlimb muscle blood flow distribution. Speed and time to exhaustion conformed to a hyperbolic relationship (r2= 0.92 ± 0.03) which corresponded to a linear 1/time function (r2= 0.93 ± 0.02) with a CS of 48.6 ± 1.0 m min−1. Time to exhaustion below CS was ∼5× greater (P < 0.01) than that above. Below CS inline image stabilized at a submaximal value (58.5 ± 2.5 ml kg−1 min−1) whereas above CS inline image (81.7 ± 2.5 ml kg−1 min−1) increased to inline image (84.0 ± 1.8 ml kg−1 min−1, P > 0.05 vs. above CS). The 11 individual muscles or muscle parts that evidenced the greatest blood flow increases above, relative to below, CS were composed of ≥69% Type IIb/d/x muscle fibres. Moreover, there was a significant correlation (P < 0.05, r= 0.42) between the increased blood flow above expressed relative to below CS and the percentage Type IIb/d/x fibres found in the individual muscles or muscle parts. These data validate the powerful CS construct in the rat and identify that running above CS, relative to below CS, incurs disproportionate blood flow increases (indicative of recruitment) in predominantly highly glycolytic muscle fibres.